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donald trump is playing lady luck in the silver state. will his endorsement help anyone in the gop win big? it's thursday, february 2nd, groundhog day. and this is "now." joining me today, ari melber from "the nation." former communications director from the michele bachmann campaign, the lovely alice stewart. the winton churchill of political analyst, msnbc's martin bashir, and "daily news" columnist, s.e. cupp, who is not wearing her democrat hat today, or maybe she is. it's noon on the east coast. in 3 1/2 hours, nbc can report that donald trump will place a bet in vegas and endorse someone probably named mitt romney. the donald has had a thing for the presidential race this past year. let's take a look. >> if i run, and if i win, this country will be respected again. well, this is very serious.
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i wish i didn't have to do it. i wish this country was running so great. i will not be running for president, as much as i'd like to. the equal time provisions don't allow me to run until may, when i'm a free agent. i never really looked at it seriously until this year. i would rather endorse somebody and have that somebody beat barack obama. you may get into this thing after all. >> i hope i don't have to, but i may. the number one thing for me is this country. our country is in a lot of trouble. so i may. i hope i don't have to. >> viewers at home may see the trump countdown endorsement clock in the lower left-hand side of the screen. we are so excited about this. i couldn't eat all morning. first it was newt gingrich, new nbc news is reporting it will be mitt romney. martin bashir, i turn first to you. what does this mean? >> we've had this primary process described as theater of the absurd, a shakespearean
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tragedy, but we always come back to the idea of a circus. and remember, donald trump is the magician. don't assume that he's going to endorse mitt romney. i keep being told this. yesterday, esteemed journalists on "the new york times" and indeed to my left, s.e. cupp who works for the "daily news," people were being told repeatedly that it was going to be newt gingrich. and today, what are we hearing today? >> mitt romney. >> and we don't know if this is the word he is putting out. i got a release yesterday from the trump people, as i do, and i should let you know that at the bottom, it said, obligatorily, all media invited. which i'm pretty sure is just on the trump letterhead, right? it's just in there. >> it's embossed on the envelopes. actually embossed on the envelopes. >> i think they might change the place of this announcement, it might be at cirque du soleil. but trump's been really good to be involved and invite all the candidates to come to his tower and kiss the tlohrone, but i fe like he's been the runaway
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bride. at least he's making a commitment to something. >> although it may be the next season of "the apprentice," we don't really know. you know, amongst the clown car, the circus, all of this visual imagery, we hope there are no leotards where donald trump is involved, but there is some weight to this, inso far as that mitt romney has had a hard time rallying red meat conservatives. donald trump represents some part of the wing of that party. if he does end up going for mitt romney, i think in some ways, it is meaningful, insofar as is it's a vote in romney's favor by someone who's been can skeptical. >> but it's like two peas in a pods. if you listen to trump, he calls himself a billionaire, two of them together. mitt romney needs someone like joe the plumber. he doesn't need a guy who's another mass millionaire property mogul, does he? >> well, you know, donald trump wears many hats, martin, as all good circus leaders do. >> i guess. >> i think the interesting thing with this endorsement is all along, there's been chatter that he was more supportive of newt gingrich. and back when they were doing the debate, non-debate, with him
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as a moderator, there was always the understanding that he was supportive of newt gingrich. and that's why some of the candidates shied away from it. but for it to be mitt romney -- of course, no candidate's going to turn away any endorsement, for the most part. so it's just interesting. and as you said, it's interesting we have two, you know, multi-millionaires -- >> i still think that the trifecta, the perfect trifecta would have been herman cain, sarah palin, and donald trump, all for newt. those were the three that i thought would go in that -- i mean, doesn't that feel right? >> well, and we don't know. donald may still go for newt, at the end of the day. which, actually, i think would have meant something. if not for the endorsement, for the money. then newt gingrich -- if donald trump wrote newt's super pac a big, fat check, then newt gingrich is not just reliant on one sheldon addleson -- >> who he is meeting with today in nevada. >> where it's interesting if it's mitt, mitt's been a little, shall we say, embarrassed by donald trump.
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he went to the debate, met with him in private, snuck out the back door. there's been an uneasy relationship going, probably for the optics that you mentioned, martin, of it being two millionaires sitting in a room. but, again, no one turns down any endorsement. >> but to s.e.'s point, donald trump has been treating this entire race like an atm. he is withdrawing money and attention, he is not writing checks. >> so far. >> well, we will certainly be monitoring it, for those of you watching at home, i believe it's 3 hours, 24 minutes, and 45 seconds. the big announcement will be on martin's show later today and we will be watching with bated breath and chewing our nails. >> and popcorn. >> i'm still not convinced it's romney. >> we'll have to watch that and watch the gingrich reaction to all of this, which is guaranteed to be must-see tv. i do want to talk a little bit about mitt romney and the controversy he's found himself embroiled in regarding his comments yesterday on cnn,
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regarding the poor. the romney campaign has sort of, their response has been, i "president obama has destroyed the middle class. his policies have given us a stagnant economy, i unemployment, declining wages, increase in poverty, and record amounts of new debt. president obama is so detached from what is happening in the real world, that he finds it hard to believe that an unemployed engineer can't find a job." of course, the romney's campaign has said it's the media's fault for taking things out of context. in response to that, we'll play the entire romney sound from his comments and dissect after we listen to the entire thing. let's hear it. >> i'm in this race because i care about americans. i'm not concerned about the very poor, we have a safety net there. if it needs repaired, we'll fix it. i'm not concerned about the very rich, they're doing just fine. i'm concerned about the heart of americans, the 99% of americans who are struggling, and i'll continue to take that message around the nation. >> that was the comment heard
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around the media world yesterday. alice, you're fresh off the campaign trail. this was supposed to be mitt romney's big day, fresh off a florida win, and instead he's been subsumed by defense regarding these comments. >> sure, that's the challenge of being the front-runners, everything you say will be taken out of context or disequitied apart. should he have said that? no. does he mean to say he doesn't care about the poor? no. but the fact of the matter is, he's said all along that he's going to put programs in place to help the middle class, but not at the expense of the lower income or the upper income people. he didn't do the best job of explaining it that way. but what he wants to do is create jobs and turn the economy around, to help americans of all income levels. and that's certainly the message he tried to convey. it didn't come out the right way, but, unfortunately, he spent a day when he should have been taking a victory lap trying to undo what he said first thing in the morning. >> i guess, the thing is, there are two errors in this. one, i think is just on the surface level in terms of
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messaging. you've seen people from all corners, including the conservative media saying, what is he doing? this is worse than foot in mouth disease. i think it was jonah goldberg who said, he is not fit to run for president. he cannot get his words right. he keeps saying these things that paint him as wildly out of touch, this guy is not a good politician. and then there are conservatives who attack him on the message itself. let the democrats handle the poor, they have their entitlement programs, when being a true conservative is trying to lift people in poverty out of poverty. >> and also what you're talking about, the two issues, the style and the substance is right on. stylistically, there has got to be a more artful way to discuss the idea of being a middle class candidate, okay? he fails there. substantively, what you're talking about is, it's not exactly a conservative idea or a conservative impulse to go out and divide up the country based on economic demographics, racial demographics, ethnic demographics. this is something the right, in fact, excoriates the left for doing. so on both counts, i think people who are supporting mitt
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romney and who are just conservatives watching this race are saying, what is he thinking? how did this get through the romney focus group? and the very disciplined, you know, campaign that he's led so far. >> he's beginning to make rick perry seem like an articulate -- >> oh, martin! >> that's a heavy lift. >> i wouldn't go that far. >> but he is. if you look at the campaign, one of the most terrible things about mitt romney is that he's an appalling actor. he can't act. and you have to be able to act. when newt gingrich wants to attack someone, he does it with such visceral nastiness, that he's immediately believable. you know he means it. >> well, he has a imagine. he acts terrible because he is terrible! >> for sure. but that's the point. mitt can't act. so all along the trail, you know, there was that terrible moment where he said, at one moment in his life, and he looks upwards, i was worried about getting a pink slip, i was worried about being forced to lose my job. it was embarrassing. and that's what the problem, fundamentally, is. and that's why many people, as you say, and as you say, on the
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right, are so critical of him, because they look at him and think, what is the authenticity of this man? what is he actually like? and it's hard to decipher, isn't it? >> it is. that's the concern. >> the problem with gaffes on the campaign trail, the gaffe is when you actually say something that's true, but isn't political savvy. >> right, it's not a gaffe. >> he talks about in that clip, the most interesting thing to me is he says, 90 to 95%. he's only four points away from 99%. but here's the problem, 15% of the country is currently on food stamps. >> 51 million people in this country are just at the point of poverty. >> and 21%, if you count the real unemployment numbers, 21% don't have a job or underimp underemployed. so it is not, if you want to talk about people struggling, i don't know what very poor or super poor means, if you want to talk about people struggling in this economy, you're talking about one out of four, one out of five americans.
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so he's wrong on the facts, but he's revealing his view about how to legislate. >> i've said my piece about mitt romney, but to play contrarian for a minute, and maybe alice is the right person to go to -- >> s.e. cupp, contrary? >> every politician comes out and says, i care about poor people. maybe it's refreshing to have a guy come out and say, i don't really -- >> s.e., that is refreshingly naive. >> and this comes a few days after president obama did the google interview with a woman who said her husband left a job, and he said, oh, that's interesting. but this is probably why they kept governor romney off the air and off the sunday shows for many months because there is a tendency to do this. this is a teachable moment for the romney campaign. don't say you don't care about people of lower income. and that's something i'm sure they're going to work on. >> when, alice, when does this happen? >> a teachable moment. mitt romney go back to acting school. martin bashir, thank you, as always, for the wisdom, the
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charm. the big announcement, as we mentioned before, will be on martin's big show today at 3:00 p.m. eastern time. do not miss it. it is must-see. coming up, poll position. every day we get a new set of polls, but what are the numbers actually telling us or not telling us about the presidential race? we'll get answers from two of the experts behind the nbc/"wall street journal's" polls next on "now." [ kate ] many women may not be properly absorbing the calcium they take because they don't take it with food. switch to citracal maximum plus d. it's the only calcium supplement that can be taken with or without food. that's why my doctor recommends citracal maximum. it's all about absorption. ♪ you and me and the big old tree ♪ ♪ side by side, one, two, three ♪ ♪ count the birds in the big old tree ♪ ♪ la la la [ male announcer ] the inspiring story of how a shipping giant can befriend a forest may seem like the stuff of fairy tales. ♪
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the republican presidential race has been a see saw of fluctuating poll numbers. after iowa, mitt romney surged in the polls and the momentum built through new hampshire. on january 15th, gallup's daily tracking had romney at 37% nationally. but a week later, newt gingrich won south carolina and overtook romney 31 to 27%.
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they were neck and neck heading into florida, but we know how that ended up. how should we be reading these polls? peter hart is a democratic pollster and runs heart research, and bill mcinturff is a republican pollster and cofounder of strategies. and jennifer covers congress for the "huffington post." all of you guys, welcome to the program. mr. hart and mcintush, i'll go to you first. i wonder if you have found 2012 to be the most volatile year in all of your polling? >> it's certainly a volatile year. and alex, to be on the show the the same day that donald trump is going to announce, how much better can it get? >> it's ratings gold. >> what i tell you is, he's the kim kardashian for the republican party. no marriage will last over 72 days, i'll guarantee you that. >> we will take your bet and put
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some money on that. >> but it is fluctuating a lot, and in part because i think the voters have been having a hard time finding their moorings. there's not a single candidate that they are into. it's not an ideological fight, where only certain voters will vote for romney and certain voters will vote for gingrich. it is much more than that, and that's why i think it's switching around. >> so dissatisfaction seems to be a motivating factor here. to what degree do you guys think this thing is still open for a third-party candidate. it seems every time we hear of a poll, it's, you know, people are waiting, sitting on their hands for some white knight to emerge in this race. >> i think you look in 1948, 1968, 1992, you know, we've had other cycles where we've had this combination of very difficult economy and very high political dissatisfaction. and what they've all led to is a third or fourth party. and i think in our polling, we're seeing those same factors
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again. i think 2012 is going to be a very difficult and hard to predict year, and i still think there's a substantial chance we could have a third or fourth party that's getting 10 or 20% of the vote. and although it seems late, we're in february, this is the kind of year and the internet and ballot access makes it easier, where i think that's possible. >> and if we're talking about whose votes go where, there's been a contention, largely in the gingrich campaign that if rick santorum would just pull out, it would give newt gingrich the lift that he needs. and mr. mcen mcenin, duel do yo think polls are bearing out that thesis? >> if all the santorum votes went to gingrich in florida, he still wouldn't have one. we'll also be coming to missouri, where gingrich is not on the ballot, it's a primary, and it will be romney versus
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santorum. and my guess is, if i were senator santorum, i would not get out of this race. i think i would stay in and wait to see wants. but i don't think, and i don't -- and by the way, i mean, the speaker can talk all he wants about what he thinks is going to happen with the ron paul or santorum vote, but they're not going anywhere. i think these are our four candidates and they're going to be our four candidates for a while going forward. >> i think they are absolutely listening to what you're saying and not so much newt gingrich as far as what they should do. let's open this up to the panel a little bit. and jen, i want to talk to you about this, since you're a politically savvy journalist. in terms of what has happened in these early primary states, what has been interesting to me is how differently the electorate has behaved in each one of them. for example, we know that the women voted for newt gingrich in south carolina, evangelicals sided with newt gingrich in south carolina, but in florida, women sided with mitt romney. we're looking ahead to the map. it's kind of a toss-up in terms of how these electorates behave
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nationally, but in terms of state by state, it's wildly different, depending on where you are. >> it does seem like a toss-up. and it is still very early. there's so much steadfast focus on who's going to take this, who's edging up on the next one, but it's barely february right now. and i know everybody likes to jump on predicting and saying who's going to take it. i mean, romney's looking pretty solid, the white house -- or obama's campaign is obviously preparing for a romney candidate. >> a romney, as it were. >> a romney. but it's still early. i'm most curious to see what happens today after donald trump makes his big announcement. i'm not sure who's going to be more interesting to watch afterwards, mitt romney, and the way he carefully embraces from endorsement from the don, or newt gingrich, if he's bitter or peeved sounding at all. >> well, peeved sounding is something newt gingrich has managed quite well the last couple of weeks. >> the last thing we need is for him to be more fired up after he was after florida.
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i think to the point of the polling numbers and if that would indicate to someone else an independent might get in, i think polling is one thing, but also what we saw in florida, the low voter turnout. but that indicates that people aren't jazzed up and that would lead more to someone possibly getting in as an independent. the poll numbers are great to watch. i love to keep an eye on those, but you guys see this as well, you don't really get a good gauge until you get a few days before, whether it's the caucus or the primary. that's when you can really tell. and the last few states, the primaries, the polls going on to primary day are pretty much dead-on. >> mr. hart, the control room tells me you're nodding your head in agreement, and i want to bring you in here again. in terms of paying attention to the poll numbers and also voter turnout, those obviously affect, you know -- well, voter turnout affects polls, but also paying attention to the numbers at a certain point is more relevant in terms of knowing who's going to win these primaries, is it not? >> two interesting points, the first point that allison makes
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is so critical, and that is that enthusiasm for the republicans has dropped. we're seeing it not only in turnout, but we're seeing it in our policy. there was a much greater enthusiasm last year than at this stage. they still have more enthusiasm than the democrats. but the second thing that's critical, that we keep thinking, and alex, you're so good on this, we keep thinking we've hit the straightaway. and we're only 2 inches away from the next curve and we always think we've just seen the last thing. the answer is, we are going to see so many curves between now and the end of the primary season, it is not going to be a straight road. that's the one thing i'll guarantee you. >> well, i think this is a rare case -- i'm sorry, peter's just wrong. if you look at self-described interests among republicans, that self-described interest in our national polling is as high today as it was in 2008. and in 2008, we saw, this country had a massive and record turnout. in three of our four contests in the republican party, so far in january, we've had record historic turnout.
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the turnout blipped down in florida for a very simple reason. in 2008, there was a property tax vote on the ballot. it was an initiative. that's like catnip for republicans. and taking the florida result and making some broad generalization about republican interest is just flawed and wrong. >> well, bill mcinturff and peter hart, thank you both for your divergent views, but both incredibly compelling. thank you for joining the program. >> thanks. after the break, facebucks, facebook's new ipo is about to make mark zuckerberg and company a lot of dough, but what are the long-term implications for the site? the author of the book that inspired "the social network" joins us next on "now." ♪ eggland's best eggs. -the best in nutrition... -just got better. even better nutrition -- high in vitamins d, e and b12.
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facebook is accepting a friend request to the tune of $5 billion. but given the global facebook addiction from friendships to dating, politics, and business, aren't we all already living in mark zuckerberg's world? joining us now is ben messeric's who's book was the basis of the movie "the social network." ben, this is a big day, is it not? or yesterday was an even bigger day. mark zuckerberg and company are seeking $5 billion in an initial ipo. the company is valued at between $75 billion and $100 billion. i really wish i had done some wall murals for them in the early days of their offices and gotten paid in stock options. i guess as someone who tracked the story from the beginning, are you surprised at where the company is now? >> i'm not surprised at how much it's worth. i mean, i think the numbers are phenomenal, but facebook is a monster. you know, it changed all of our lives in ways that we're still kind of reacting to.
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i think i knew it was coming at some point, and mark is now, you know, one of the richest people in the world, as he probably should be. >> do you think mark knew it was coming, from the beginning? >> you know, no. not at all. i think he never cared about money. he still doesn't really care about money. i think it was never about that. he wanted everyone in the world to be on facebook, but as like a major company worth billions of dollars, no, that was never kind of on the radar for mark. >> i want to open this up to the panel a little bit, the notion that mark wanted everybody in the world to be on facebook, which seems like it's actually coming to fruition. when we talk about facebook, it is more than just, obviously, a site. but i wonder to what degree you guys think it is fad-proof, if that's a word, insofar as a lot of stuff on the internet sort of rises and falls. we know there's been tech bubbles, but is facebook here to stay? >> i think the big difference with facebook compared to myspace and friendster and other essential networks that have
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came and went, that facebook has integrated itself as the backbone as so many other parts of the web. it's a deliberate strategy and one that's worked for them. if you go to jen's site, "the huffington post," you've got a bunch of facebook opportunities to see what your friends, not on the huff po, but on facebook, what are they reading and recommending? same on "the new york times." so when we consider the social graph of saying, yeah, i can see on the page, people spend more time per day than on any other website. but that's not the whole story. the whole story is all the personal data they're constantly mining and updating about you that is across the graph of the internet. the funny thing here, that many people have said, is we started with this aol and a notion of a garden, and people broke out of that, and several years later, we're much more back to a much more intuitive, to a much more fine lly grained garden. >> i love you're bringing in internet theory, walled garden. >> well, you have all cool women
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and a dork. >> this ipo venture brings about a new movie with justin timberlake. >> oh, alice, the low-hanging fruit. >> i think the good thing, to your point, what they're trying to do is make it a place you can do more on facebook. that obviously helps your revenue. if you can go there and chat with your friends and look at pictures and upload videos and from a campaign standpoint or a political standpoint, you can engage a lot of voters that wouldn't normally read the newspaper or watch the evening news, you can engage a lot more people, and doing it from facebook, it helps them, but it also brings more of a dialogue with all types of people. >> we look at the campaign trail and what sarah palin has done on facebook, she recently posted a 1,300-word post, cit's a great way to speak to your constituents, especially if you want to eschew is mainstream, or la lamestream media. >> yes, i think it's fascinating the the way facebook has plaid out on capitol hill. i know from working down there,
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members of congress who are more engaged, whether it's twitter or facebook, they're considered more savvy. people will interact with them more. the white house has connected insane amounts of its efforts to facebook and twitter and other social media outlets, especially -- i mean, look at the state of the union. they had this whole social media aspect rolled out that was never done before. >> the obama campaign is always very ahead of the game in terms of digital strategy. in terms of mark zuckerberg and his desire to have facebook take over the planet, do you have a sense he has a next act? he's going public, which obviously kind of changes his role at the economy. >> yeah, i think he's becoming an adult. there's a maturity factor. he was a kid when he started it, a couple of college kids who really couldn't meet girls, and they changed the world. and i think that revolution is ongoing. i really do think the goal now is to make facebook a part of your life, kind of all day long. we've gone from the village to the city to facebook. you live on it. and i think that's what mark wants. he wants video, he wants, you know, it's already the biggest
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photo site. it's going to be in every aspect of your life. when i was in college, if you wanted to meet a girl, you had to walk up and say hi, right? now it's all on facebook. and i think that's the future he's going for. >> maybe mark zuckerberg and newt gingrich can work on that lunar colony, you know, once the earth has been conquered, the moon is next. ben mezrich, thank you for your time. thanks for joining the program. we want to know what you think about the future of facebook, so tell us on facebook, coming up next, there's a chance of a truce on capitol hill. the peacemakers may surprise. they're members of the same party. that's next on "now." ♪ he was a 21st century global nomad ♪ ♪ home was an airport lounge and an ipad ♪ ♪ made sure his credit score did not go bad ♪ ♪ with a free-credit-score-dot-com ♪ ♪ app that he had ♪ downloaded it in the himalayas ♪ ♪ while meditating like a true playa ♪
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the ice appears to be thawing between the top two republican leaders in the house.
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eric cantor and john boehner, going on record, or on background, saying that a truce is in the works. jen bender, you cover the zoo known as capitol hill and cover it now. what's the likelihood -- first of all, how big a deal is it that there are senior advisers saying that there's a truce in the works? >> well, it is noteworthy that their staff is acknowledging something that people have already kind of known for a while, but have always denied, have always said, we're fine, we're a united party, nothing to see here, you know. so the fact that there are aides to both of them now saying, okay, fine, they don't really get along so well. but now we're going to say that we've reached a truce. so it is noteworthy that they're talking about it. i'm not really sure what brought that on right now. >> and can the tea party or the insurgents represented by eric cantor really make peace with the establishment republicans represented by john boehner? >> i think they have to. the tensions amongst talk on the hill, the tensions between the two of them have got so high,
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they finally just realized, we're not going to make any progress. we have to work together in order to work with the other side of the aisle, and they had to do this. and time will tell, as we peel back layers of the onion, we'll see -- >> i think she's trying to tee up a story that s.e. has about eric cantor -- >> i have no stories about eric cantor. but i think that side of the party feels very badly burned by boehner. whether it was the spending bill or the debt ceiling increase, they feel like this was a guy that came to power and has let them down to some extent. >> and i'm sure that boehner's folks would tell you that eric cantor has been gunning for his seat, too public apply, and it' time to hit the reset button. we'll find out how long that truce lasts. coming up, women's health, how politics is getting in the way of care. we'll talk with plannedcecile r. that's next on "now." this is an rc robotic claw.
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susan g. komen for the cure is facing major criticism after it decided to end funding to planned parenthood for breast cancer screenings. planned parenthood president cecile richards joins us now from washington. miss richards, thank you so much for joining the program. >> sure, alex. thanks for having me. >> so, first i want to talk about the fisticuffs, what should we call it? the situation with the susan g. komen foundation. the susan g. komen foundation is saying that they are pulling funding because planned parenthood is under federal investigation. the atlantic reporting today that the decision was mostly driven by a top official at susan g. komen who doesn't like the fact that planned parenthood also provides abortion funding and this notion of a federal investigation is just a cover. what do you think of that? >> we share with the komen foundation the same goal, which is to make sure that women get access to health care. we were very shocked and very
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surprised that they decided to pull funding from our health centers, because we're a very significant provider of breast exams to women. ov over 7,000 breast exams each year. and we've had a great partnership with the komen foundation. and they've praised our work, because we reach a lot of women who are uninsured and who have the least access to breast exams. so i really hope that they will rethink this decision and that we can become partners again in doing everything we can to make sure every woman in this country gets a breast exam and gets the breast care that she needs. >> and we know that planned parenthood provides much in the way of reproductivity health services to women, both low-income and nonlow-income women. i wonder if the rhetoric around planned parenthood, we know that republicans tried to defund planned parenthood in one of their recent budgets or one of their debt deals. has the vitriol directed your way surprised you in recent months? >> i think what's surprising and
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so upsetting is that politics is now being thrown up as a way of getting in the way of women's health care. and you're right, first it was they wanted to end all family planning and birth control at planned parenthoods. now they want to end cancer screenings at planned parenthood. and i think that's why we're seeing thousands of women and men, around the country, who are rallying not only to the site of planned parenthood, but most importantly, to the women who seek our care. we see 3 million patients a year, and many of them, if they don't come to planned parenthood, they don't see a doctor that year. and i think that's why we have to get back on track in this country. it's disturbing to see this become such a political issue. >> and let's open this up to the panel a little bit. if we talk about abortion, and alice, we've talked about social issues being a very hot topic on the campaign trail this year. it seems that there's a real, if not tidal wave, but a real movement to repeal certain parts of roe v. wade, to tackle
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reproductive rights, and the abortion issue is very front and center. why now? it's because of the recently passed health care law and republican resistance to this, but what is it about where we are right now as a society that is making this such a hot topic? >> i think the pro-life groups are becoming more vocal and more organized and appealing to their members of congress and saying, i don't want my tax dollars to go to any organization that funds abortions. that's what we're seeing here. the person overseeing planned parenthood does have a point. they receive $500 million of taxpayer money and don't have the records, they don't know how that money is being spent. so i don't see a problem with the government trying to figure out how the money is being spent. >> okay. >> in terms of the komen foundation, that's a different story. they have an obligation to the people who contribute to komen, as to how they spend their money, and they want it to go to breast cancer research, and obviously there is a cry that they didn't want it to go to a group that provides abortions. it's two different groups, but in terms of the funding of it, the taxpayer money, thing the government has a right to see
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how that money's spent. >> well, i would like to say, of course, we at planned parenthood, we provide health care to more than 3 million people every year and abortion's a very small part of what we do, but we are a provider. and we, as does every other organization that receives government funding for low-income patients, provide all of that. and we've cooperated fully. i think what's so upsetting and what's so distressing for women around the country is that there is an effort now, and unfortunately, we're seeing it in the republican primary, every major candidate running for the presidency of the united states has said not only are they going to end all funding for planned parenthood, they're going to eliminate all, the entire national family planning program. that's ending birth control, pap smears, breast exams for 5 million women every year. and the thing i think is most difficult to understand is if you really want to reduce the number of abortions in this country, then, for goodness sakes, we shouldn't be cutting off family planning services. and that's exactly what the house of representatives is trying to do.
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>> and it's worth mentioning that candidates such as rick santorum has said it should be up to states to decide whether birth control is banned or not. >> absolutely. >> which is, again, a rather extreme position, given where we have been in this country on this topic. >> it's also worth noting that within 24 hours of the news coming out about komen's decision, planned parenthood raked in like $650,000 within 24 hours. and if i remember correctly, that is the same amount of money that they would make, pull in in a year, is that correct? >> well, what we have seen, i have to be honest, in the last two days or 24/48 hours, there have been thousands of people who have come to our website, most of them very small contributors, people who have been planned parenthood patients, and the good news is, i think we'll be able to use that money now to restore funding at the clinics that have been affected. and i hope, even expand our breast service exams for women across the country. i think the more fundamental issue, though, is, we cannot let politics get in the way of women's health care in this
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country. breast cancer is not -- it's not a political issue. and there's not a woman in this country who hasn't been touched in some way, either a sister, a mother, an aunt, a friend, who hasn't been touched by someone who has had breast cancer. >> i think it's probably worth noting, though, that as much as we may not want sort of women's health to become a political issue, it very much seems that it's going to be in this upcoming race. the white house, it's worth mentioning, has taken sort of differing positions on the issue, insofar as the administration has recently released a rule that requires religious-affiliated organizations to provide health insurance that covers birth control and does not require a deductible or a copay. that comes after a decision by kathleen sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, overruling a fda session, saying that plan "b," which is the morning after pill, should be sold over the counter to women under the age of 16, which stoked the ire of many in the pro-choice community. >> i think it should be said that, of course, this is a political issue. i mean, to pretend that it isn't or shouldn't be, i think, is
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really naive. planned parenthood with say, we only do a small number of abortions a year, but if i'm a pro-life, right to life voter, i'm looking at their own numbers of 349,000 abortions performed last year alone, according toed to planned parenthood, that bothers me as a pro-life voter, and i should have the right to vote based on that knowledge and maybe give to susan g. komen, now that they have decided to pull out their funding, when maybe i wouldn't have before. >> but i think that's the issue, right? i don't think people thought of susan g. komen breast cancer foundation as a political organization and this seems to be a very politically motivated decision. >> that's exactly right. it is a political decision, and that's been very clear. i think the more important issue here is, do we really believe -- and i want to make sure that this is, this point is understood. the federal government doesn't pay a single dollar for abortion services. and this is not -- all of the debate that's going on in congress and frankly, you know, when the presidential candidates on the republican side say they want to end the national family
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planning program, that's all about birth control. which in this country is what we use to help women prevent unintended pregnancy. i think one of the greatest things actually coming out of this affordable care act is now that women are going to get equal treatment as men. we can now buy insurance without having to pay more, we don't have pre-existing conditions that limit us from getting health care coverage, and now there is a new benefit that means women's preventative care, including birth control, is covered without expensive copays. women in this country use birth control, all women use it. 99%, 98% of catholic women. it's basic women's health care. >> the 98% of catholic women on birth control, i think, is a stat we need to dig into more after the break. we will be back with more cecile richards and more on women's health in america. hi, i'm andrea mitchell, and coming up on "andrea mitchell reports," we will continue this conversation over the split between komen and planned parenthood. ambassador nancy brinker, the founder of susan g. komen for the cure, in her first interview
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on the subject. also weighing in here, senators barbara boxer and patty murray. south dakota senator, john thune, a romney supporter will be joining us, and indiana governor mitch daniels in his first interviews since delivering the republican response to the president's state of the union address. he's also, of course, hosting the super bowl. so we'll have a lot to talk about. about. go, giants, on at liberty mutual, we know how much you count on your car, and how much the people in your life count on you. that's why we offer accident forgiveness, where your price won't increase due to your first accident. we also offer a hassle-free lifetime repair guarantee,
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we are back with just a few more minutes to talk with planned parenthood's president, cecile richards in washington, d.c. cecile, i wanted to note, if you look at reproductive rights and the debate over women's health issues, 2011 was not a particularly great year. 92 laws in 24 states restricting access to abortion services, which is shattering the record in 2005, where there were 34 laws passed. our resident male on the panel, ari melber, had something to say before the break, so i'm going to go to him first. >> what i wanted to say, i think
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we had a very important discussion about some of the details here and the komen news is large. but i think the larger issue is that we're talking about a fundamental right that the supreme court has held individuals have. and that's in roe v. wade. it was restricted slightly in planned parenthood v. casey. and that's the right. you have a right to speak and other people may greatly disagree with what you say. and you have a right to exercise choice over your body and your medical care in ways that other people might strongly disagree, but the supreme court has said under our constitution, it is your body. so i think what we've seen in the laws you're pointing out and in this unfortunate dispute is an attempt to work at the margins and delegitimatize something that is a protected right. >> no, that's not true, ari. >> i completely agree. >> not surprising. well, no, look, i think -- i'm a mother of three, i understand these issues, profoundly. i think in this country, roe is considered subtle law. folks in this country want abortion to be safe and they
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want it to be legal, and they want to it less necessary. so i think the thing that's incredible to me about the political debate we're seeing now is that we are literally fighting over the issue of whether women should have access to birth control. that's what's extraordinary to me. this is the most -- i think the folks who are fighting against birth control, and obviously, you don't have to take birth control if you don't want to, that's certainly your choice, but the fact is, it's not a social issue for women. it's a health issue and it's an economic issue pb and we need to do everything we can in this country to make it more available. >> cecile richards, it looks like this debate will be ongoing. we hope we can convince you to come back on the program. thanks for joining pu ining us. >> thanks, alex. >> and thank you, as always, to our panel, ari, alice, s.e., and jennifer, that is all for now. i'll see you back here tomorrow morning, with jonathan capehart and alice stewart, but until then, you can follow us on ye
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old twitter machin machine @nowwithalex. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. >> joining us today, ambassador nancy brinker, the founder of susan g. komen for the cure, in her first interview since komen's controversial decision to cut ties with planned parenthood. also senators barbara boxer, patty murray, and john thune, and indiana governor mitch daniels next right here on "andrea mitchell reports." ♪ eggland's best eggs. -the best in nutrition... -just got better. even better nutrition -- high in vitamins d, e and b12. a good source of vitamin b2. plus omega threes. and 25% less saturated fat than ordinary eggs. but there's one important ingredient that hasn't changed. -better taste. -better taste.
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♪ you and me and the big old tree ♪ ♪ side by side, one, two, three ♪ ♪ count the birds in the big old tree ♪ ♪ la la la [ male announcer ] the inspiring story of how a shipping giant can befriend a forest may seem like the stuff of fairy tales. ♪ ♪ you and me and the big old tree side by side ♪ but if you take away the faces on the trees... take away the pixie dust. take away the singing animals, and the charming outfits.
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take away the sprites, and the storybook narrator... [ man ] you're left with more electric trucks. more recycled shipping materials... and a growing number of lower emissions planes... which still makes for a pretty enchanted tale. ♪ la la la whoops, forgot one... [ male announcer ] sustainable solutions. fedex. solutions that matter. right now on "andrea mitchell reports," race from the cure. the nation's largest non-government funder of breast cancer research is facing a storm of protests from its own supporte support supporters, angry over the decision to cut ties with planned parenthood. >> to have the premiere breast cancer research and breast screening and education nonprofit in this country turning into a political entity is deeply concerning, i

NOW With Alex Wagner
MSNBC February 2, 2012 9:00am-10:00am PST

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